Edited for on Neon Genesis Evangelion & End of Evangelion by Hideki Anno

Licensed through Gainax. I do not own any of the characters associated with this story. Neon Geneisis Evangelion & End of Evangelion are the trademark(s) of Gainax. ADV Films & Viz. This story is being written just for fun.


Like many anime fans, I truly enjoyed watching Neon Genesis Evangelion. I thought it was fantastic in its concept and that the characters were rich and evolving. I, like many fans was disappointed with the last two episodes of the series. I, like many fans, was delighted when I saw End of Evangelion as the real ending for the series. I loved End of Evangelion but also like many fans I wondered: what happened to Shinji & Asuka after that? Did they become part of something greater? Did they ever find a way to get together? Was the Earth ever renewed? Did their friends ever come back? I began the process of asking myself, what happens to Shinji & Asuka now?

There have been many stories to continue the story of Evangelion but none have ever explained Third Impact. I had this idea for a while and I decided to write about it.

I hope you enjoy this story. I tried to stick to the core elements of what made Neon Genesis Evangelion great. As many people have said, it wasn't so much the science fiction as it was the interaction of the characters that made the series what it was. I have tried to stick to the core of the characters and make them as believable as possible. All though you may want to count how many times Asuka calls Shinji an idiot.

It has taken me over a year in my spare time to write. Hopefully it serves as a possible explanation of what happened to Shinji & Asuka but…. it is not the official explanation. Hopefully someday, we shall see that become a reality. .

Please enjoy reading After Impact and forward any comments that you may have about this story, positive or negative.

This contains language, (profanity, strong adult situations), strong violence, and sexual situations/references. This story is not recommended for those under the age of 18. Edited for


Chapter 1.

Visions clouded his head, as he looked back towards the light that he felt himself being carried to.

At first the images were not making sense, he was seeing his past: his father, mother, Asuka, Misato, Rei, Toji, Kensuke, Kauro, Kaji and then he was seeing other images. He saw a large mountain, a small house and a woman smiling at him. He didn't know this woman and yet he felt connected to her somehow.

There was only one thing he was sure of, she had the same eyes as his mother, and her hair was red with a large reassuring smile. Then the images would repeat, over and over again.

"Who is the one?" It was his voice speaking back to him as he traveled upward towards the light as color and light streaked past him. "Who is the one you will choose?"

As he looked back to the face of his mother, he heard her say with a smile as she touched his cheek. "Will you be all right, love?"

He smiled at her and nodded his head as he could feel himself coming back to the world. "I'll try…." He told her.

"Choose." The voice said. "Choose the one to share your life with…the one for the hope."

He breathed in and then only one word came out of his mouth. "Asuka…."

His mother's face smiled back at him. "Now, go life live. Don't be afraid any longer. Embrace your existence."

"Mother…" his voice trailed off as he got further and further away from her and then he looked up towards the light and felt himself break through the barrier.

Chapter 2

He came up from the water and breathed in the air. He looked around, the devastation was horrific and the sea was orange. He couldn't believe that this was what Third Impact had done. Tokoyo-3 stood in ruins.

He turned and saw the giant face of Rei, staring back at him; it put a fear into him like he never knew before. He began to swim towards the shore, feeling tired.

Finally he felt the sand beneath his fingers and crawled out of the orange sea. He stood up and looked around, in the center of his hand, he held Misato's cross and clutched it. Then he collapsed onto the sand, shutting his eyes and breathing in out, his exhaustion overwhelmed him and he fell asleep.

Shortly, he woke up and sat up on the shore of the beach, watching the orange waves crash upon the shore. He looked out and could see the devastation caused and the fury unleashed by man's selfishness and arrogance.

Third Impact. He thought. The desire of SEELE and the end of life as I know it.

He took a deep breath not knowing quite what he had just experienced and not knowing if he was really alive or dead. He lay back down onto the sand and shut his eyes.

He turned his head slightly and then he saw her, his eyes widened and he smiled.

She was laying on the beach, wearing the skintight red plug suit, the uniform that designated them both as pilots of the EVA. Her hair was the fiery auburn that he loved. There was a bandage over her right eye and a bandage over her right hand and upper arm.

He wondered. Could this really be her? Is this real?

Then he felt anger.

He remembered that so far nothing had been real. Everything had been an illusion and with all his fury, he leaped on top of her, straddling her with his hands were around her throat, squeezing as hard as he could.

You're not real. He thought. You're just a ghost, an apparition. You're not alive! Why must I be tortured like this? Why are you doing this to me? Asuka's dead. This isn't her!

She suddenly felt her vision come back to her. She felt pain around her neck. She couldn't breathe. She felt her life-force going and in front of her she saw him, he was trying to kill her, strangle her.

What was he doing? Why was he doing it?

She didn't know what to do at that point and so she reached up with her hand and lightly touched his face.

He froze. Her touch was real. She wasn't a ghost or a fake. It's really her! Asuka, you're alive! It's you! It's really you! Oh my God, Asuka!

It wasn't like before in that dream state when he had strangled her and then she disappeared in front of him to be replaced by Rei.

This was real.

She was real.

This was the now and they were alive.

He loosened his grip on her throat and then her hand slipped down his cheek and fell at her side. He took his hands away from her throat and looked down on at her.

She looked up to him with fear in her eyes.

His eyes welled up with tears and a there was a smile across his face that went with it.

Asuka. He started to cry and laid his head on top of her chest holding onto her as if she was the only thing in the world that mattered to him.

She looked around thinking, what happened? The last thing she remembered was being in Unit 2 when she was attacked. She remembered something going through her eye and slashing across her arm. She remembered saying "I'll kill you. I'll kill you."

Then she was descended upon all at once. They came at her fast and started eating away at the red EVA unit. She felt like her body was being ripped apart and her entire existence was being erased and she didn't remember anything more after that except for two things.

A scream.

A horrifying high-pitched scream and she wasn't sure of whom it was. It screamed out her name.

The next thing she remembered was white, a blank void of white, and that was all.

Now she was here. What am I? Why is he with me? Did he save me? No, if he had…he wouldn't have tried to kill me now would he? Idiot!

She looked down at him as he cried.

All she could think of saying was "Feel sick."

She was repulsed. How dare he cry all over me like that? Fucking idiot. "How disgusting."

"Asuka, I didn't know…I'm sorry."

He looked up at her as she sat up with him and looked around.

"Get off of me!" She growled.

Shinji got off of her and sat next to her, he couldn't stop looking at her.

She touched her face and felt the bandage around her head. She had no pain though. She removed the bandage from around her head. To her amazement, she could see out of her eye.

"Do I have a wound?" she asked.

"No." he said.

She quickly unwrapped the bandage on her hand and stared at it. She had no injury, not a cut or a bruise. It was the same arm that had been slashed. She had watched her arm split and felt the horrific pain and now she was fine. She opened and closed her fist and breathed out with wide eyes.

"What the fuck happened?" she asked as she looked at him. "Shinji, what happened? What in the hell happened? Third Impact? Why are we alive still?"

"I…don't know." He said as he looked at her.

Then he stared into her eyes and she gave him an annoyed look. "What?"

"Your eyes." He said as he looked at her.

"What about them? Do I have a wound?" She asked as she touched her face.

"No." he said as he leaned forward. "Your eyes were blue, right?"

"You mean…. they are blue, right?" Asuka asked.

"They were, right?" he asked.

"What do you…mean…by…. were blue?" She asked. "What color are they?"

"Brown." He said. "They're brown, like Misato's eyes."

"BROWN?" Asuka yelled out as she touched her face. "What the fuck is going on?"

"I…I…don't know."

"You don't know?" Asuka asked. "How could you not know?"

"I DON'T KNOW!" Shinji yelled out as he turned his back on her and bought his knees up into his chest and cried.

Asuka stood up and looked out. She saw the giant face of Rei Ayanami staring back at her in the LCL Ocean and she felt a chill right down to her core.

"You don't…remember anything?" Asuka asked.

"I don't want to remember." Shinji said through his tears. "Its…. too much."

"Why am I here?' Asuka asked.

"Because I…wanted you to be here." Shinji said as he looked up. "They said, wish for the one that you want to be with you. I asked for you."

"You…. asked for me? What happened exactly? All I remember was being attacked and then…nothing…then I was here and why… Why did you just…why were you trying to kill me?" Asuka asked as she kneeled next to him. "Shinji…. why?"

"I don't…know." Shinji said nervously. "I didn't think you were real. I thought it was another one of their visions or something! I don't know anything. I don't even know why I'm here…why?"

"You said you chose me?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah." Shinji told her.

"Why did you do that? Why me, Shinji?"

"HOW CAN YOU ASK ME THAT?" He yelled out as he felt the tears come down his face. "How can you…"

Asuka stood up and looked around. She took a deep breath as she felt fear well up in her core. "We have to get try to get away from here. We have to find something to survive on."

"Survive?" Shinji asked.

"Yeah." Asuka told him as she looked down at him.. "We're alive, Shinji. We have to try to stay alive."

"What's even the point?" Shinji asked.

Asuka growled and then went over to him. She pushed him down on the ground onto his back and then towered over him, looking down at him. "You've got to stop being weak. You've got to start standing up for yourself. If I am stuck with you then I am not going to put up with your whining, crying, low esteem garbage! You will not be weak any more! Okay, Shinji, here's reality! Reality, we're here. We have to try to survive and I am not going to do this without you. You wanted me here; well then you have to work with me now! From now on, Shinji, I am in charge! Got that?"

He only looked back to her, feeling angry, humiliated, like she usually made him feel but at the same time, that fire, that spark in her, it made him feel like pushing on.

Asuka held out her hand to him and put her other hand on her hip. "Get your ass up!"

Shinji reached out for her hand and she pulled him up. He got to his feet and looked at her.

"Now, let's go."


"Because, we have to." She told him.

"Where do we go?"

"Anywhere but here. Wonder Girl's face is freaking me out."

Shinji looked at her and then she began to walk away from the beach with Shinji walking behind her.

Chapter 3

They walked further and further away from the shore, they began to notice that for the most part the world looked devoid of life. Burnt trees and hollowed out buildings were everywhere.

They were walking in what appeared to be the ruins of Tokoyo-3. The devastation was horrific and then Asuka saw something and took off running.

"Where are you gong?" Shinji asked as he ran after her. He saw what she was running to and then shook his head. "Asuka, what are you doing?"

"I need clothes." She called out. "I'm not going to wear this fucking plug suit all the time! Are you going to wear that white shirt and jeans constantly?"

"Okay you got a point." He told her as he walked into the building with her. He looked around and it was severely beaten down. Clothes were strewn about but that didn't seem to bother Asuka as she went through them.

Shinji felt uneasy in that clothing store and for some reason, he wasn't sure of something was telling him that they would be better off getting out of there as soon as possible.

"Stop looking like that." Asuka told him as she shook her head. "You're always scared about something."

"I am not scared!" He protested. "Just I'm cautious…. that's all."

"Yeah, exactly what I said: you're scared!" She shook her head and continued to go through the clothes and then Shinji's head twitched as he heard something.



"Asuka, we have to get out of here!" Shinji said with urgency.

"Oh please knock it off!"

"Asuka, I mean it!" Shinji said.

"Oh will you stop being a…" Then it seemed like the whole room started shaking. Asuka's eyes went wide and she looked at him paralyzed with fear.

"COME ON!" He yelled out as he grabbed her hand and ran for the entrance.

Asuka shook as he held onto her. He saw the doorway and ran out as fast as could.

Looking back they watched as the structure crumbled. They ran across the street and he threw her against wall of a building, shielding her with his own body.

Asuka looked over after she had watched the roof cave in and then looked back at him amazed at what she saw and especially at what he did.

"You saved me." She said to him.

Shinji breathed hard and then stepped away from her, looking at the now destroyed building.

"This is why we don't go into buildings unless we know what we're dealing with!" He told her as he looked back at her and then sat down, leaning against the wall.

"What are we in for?" Asuka asked him as she looked at him.

Shaking his head he answered. "I have no idea."

Chapter 4

They kept walking until both of them were tired and knew the awful truth about the only two being left alive. They had no home to go. Right now they only had each other.

Shinji did his best to make a fire. Both of them were hungry but there was no food. He settled up against a tree on the outskirts of town. All though there were buildings, Shinji didn't trust how stable they were and Asuka had agreed with him on that.

As he sat, he bought his knees up and wrapped his arms around him. Asuka sat down next to him and stared at the fire. He just looked straight ahead and said nothing.

"What are we going to do?" Asuka asked.

"I don't know." He whispered to her.

Asuka growled and then said sarcastically. "You better start thinking of ways! We both have to! Our survival depends on each other now."

Shinji looked over at her and nodded. "Are you angry at me?"

"Angry at you?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah." He said in a low whisper. "Are you angry that I asked for you?"

Asuka turned her attention back to the fire and then said quite coldly. "Well, being dead would suck. However, I don't know how it could get much worse."

"Asuka, I'm sorry." He told her.

"Why?" She asked.

"I don't know." He told her. "I just am."

"You've got to stop doing that." Asuka told him.


"Saying your sorry for everything! It's not your fault that this happened! Its not your fault, Shinji!" Asuka said to him.

"If its not, then why do I feel like it is?" he asked her.

"What happened to you?"

Shinji closed his eyes and shook his head. "You couldn't possibly understand. I don't even get it."

"Did you…. did you…. scream out my name…. right before the…. prototypes attacked me?" Asuka asked.

Shinji looked at her with a tear coming out of his eye, he shut his eyes and then said. "Why?"

"Because…right before…it was all over…I thought heard you call out my name…did you?" She asked him.

Shinji nodded his head and then looked away. "I thought you were gone."

"For a while there, I thought so too." Asuka laughed and then said. "However as fate would have it, here I am."

"I don't know how to make it work, Asuka." Shinji said in a low voice.. "I don't know how I can…I don't know what to do."

"We have to do, what we need to do, Shinji. We have to try to stay alive." She said to him.

"It would be easier for us to just…"

"Don't you dare talk like that!" Asuka growled. "You wanted me here well guess what, I'm here and you and me we're going to make it, Shinji. We have to survive. We have to! Don't even think about committing suicide! That's a coward's way out."

"I didn't say that." He said.

"No but you were thinking it." Asuka said. "You're not the only one you know. I refuse to give up though. I am alive and so are you and we have to make it work, somehow!"

Shinji sighed and then nodded saying. "Okay."

"I need to get some sleep. Sleep with your back facing me, okay?"

"Okay." He told her.

"Okay, good night." Asuka said.

"Good night." Shinji said to her as he watched he lay on her side with her back facing him. He sat up and grabbed a large stick, keeping it nearby, looking out into the darkness.

Chapter Five

Shinji couldn't sleep. He woke up and leaned against the tree. He felt miserable as he looked at the fire and then he heard an unusual sound. It was coming from Asuka.

They were whimpering sounds. Then as he listened more closely, he knew that she was crying. He had seen her cry that time she crawled into bed with him and he wondered if this was a regular thing.

"No…." he heard her say in a whisper. "Oh no more……NO!"

Her eyes flew open and she shuddered as she swallowed hard and sniffled. His eyes were on her and he stayed where he was.

Asuka looked out of the corner of her eye and breathed hard, then she said sharply. "Listen up, you idiot! Whatever you just heard? Never say a word about it ever again! Understand?"

Shinji nodded and said meekly. "Okay."

"Okay." She said as she wiped her tears away. "I'm going back to sleep. You should get some rest too."

"I'm fine." He told her. "I can't sleep."

"Do you want to talk?" She asked in gentle voice.

"About what?" he asked her.

"I don't know, idiot! How about stuff…stuff we didn't get to talk about…"

"What kind of stuff?" Shinji asked.

"Just…. stuff, y'know."

"Nothing to really talk about." He said flatly. "What do you want to talk about? Let's see the world ended yesterday. You and me are the only people, so far, that are left. We have no home. We have no belongings. No family. No friends. Nothing! Everyone we love and everyone we know is gone. Our futures are uncertain. We don't even know if we'll be alive tomorrow. So in essence, we have nothing, Does that pretty much sum it up?"

"You're wrong." Asuka said.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, we have each other and that's something."

"Yeah and you hate me for bringing you back." Shinji said as he looked straight ahead.

"Shinji, I would rather be alive then dead." Asuka told him. "I am alive. That means I have to try to stay alive and so do you."

"You still hate me for bringing you back though." Shinji told her.

"No, I don't." Asuka said.

Then she felt something next to her and she turned to see him laying on his side looking at her. His eyes were so lonely and so devoid of emotion. She nearly felt her heartbreak looking at him.

"Tell me something?" he asked her. "Why do I feel…why do I feel so…horrible?"

"Its okay." Asuka said. "Its called grief. You are allowed to feel that way."

"I miss them, Asuka." Shinji said to her as a tear came out of his eye. "I miss them so much. I even miss my own father. I guess I thought one day my father and me could reconnect to each other. That one day he would want to be my father. I'll never know…."

"You have a lot of pain, don't you?" Asuka asked him.

Shinji nodded his head as he looked at her. "Do you?" he asked her.

Asuka wasn't one to be vulnerable or allow anyone to be close to her but she figured he was going to be companion from now on and she better get used to the idea of trusting someone.

"Yeah I do." She said in a whisper as she bit her lip. "I always acted like I never needed anyone. It's so different when you're alone. I should know though, I've had a lot of practice being alone. My parents shipped me off to college when I was ten. I never knew what it was like to be a kid. I think the only time I was a kid was when I was with you."

"I've been alone my whole life." He told her in a whisper. "The only family I knew was you, Rei and Misato. Even though my father was alive, he wasn't really my family. He was my commander. My mother died when I was little. I think that was the only time in my whole life I felt loved. When she died, I had nothing. My father turned inward and then he walked away from me. I don't think I ever knew what a family was, what a father was, or a mother. Misato was the closest thing I ever had to a parent. Now she's gone too. How did you handle it? I mean, how did you handle being lonely?" he asked her.

"I fight for myself." Asuka said. "I remember who I am. I remember what I was meant to do and I let nothing stand in my way or anyone. I hold my strength close to me and I make sure that I do what I need to do."

"I can't do that." He said to her.

"You have to." She said to him. "You're right, Shinji, we don't have any possessions or a home. Everyone we love and all of our friends are gone. There is something that you and me both have though. Its important, Shinji. Do you know what it is?"

"No." he said flatly. "What?" he asked her as he put his arm underneath his head and leaned on it.

"Strength." Asuka said. "My strength is what I need to survive and it's the only thing is this world that is uniquely mine. You have it too. You are strong, Shinji. You may not think you are but you are."

"I've never felt strong. The only time I had that strength or power was in EVA. I felt unstoppable. Now though, I just feel ordinary. I don't feel strong at all. How do I find my strength?" Shinji asked her through a yawn as his eyes started to flutter.

"You look deep inside of yourself. Whenever you need it, you will call upon it and it will get you through."

"It will?" he asked her as he yawned again and shut his eyes.

"Yeah." She said as she smiled. "It will. You have to find it, Shinji. It's the only way you'll get through this."

"Okay." He said as he yawned again and turned over onto his side with his back facing her. He yawned a few more times and then Asuka could tell by the way he was breathing that he was asleep.

Asuka sighed as she looked at his back and then as she sighed, she moved up against his back and wrapped her arm around him with her hand against his chest.

Shinji's eyes opened as he looked down and saw her hand against his chest. He breathed in as he felt her snuggle against his back and then he gently took his hand and covered hers with his own.

He shut his eyes and went back to sleep.

Asuka's eyes opened slightly and she smiled. Then she cuddled against him and went back to sleep.

Chapter 6

Dawn was about to come and the air was cold. Shinji stood by himself and looked around. He felt alone and empty. There were so many emotions going through him and his head was full of questions.

He felt so weak and unsure. Never in his entire life had he ever felt this way before. He turned and looked at a sleeping Asuka. He wondered how she had been able to sleep when he tossed and turned all night.

How could he have wanted to return to this world? There was nothing. No people. No life signs. There is just Asuka and I. What did that mean? Are we the new Adam and Eve? Are there others that don't know of?

He was insecure about a great many things but now more so, then ever before. As he watched her sleep, he saw how peaceful she looked. He was glad at least one of them could sleep.

Where is this strength that Asuka keeps speaking of? He asked himself as he looked straight ahead. Why is it I can't find it? Why is it I feel so…lousy? Everything is gone. What's even the point of survival? We have to go on though; we can't just sit around and wait to die. Both of us need each other. We have to concentrate and go forward.

Asuka stirred slightly and looked up to see him standing looking out towards…nothing.

"Hi." She said as she sat up and rubbed her eye. "Oh crap. My back is sore. Sleeping outside sucks."

"We better get used to it." He said flatly as wind blew through his hair.

"Still bruiting?" Asuka asked.

"What do you think?" he asked her.

"Yeah, you're still bruiting." Asuka said as she looked around. "Hey, where's the food?"

"What?" he asked.

"Food? F-O-O-D. You know, nourishment? The thing that prevents starvation."

"We don't have any." He said.

"We have…no food?" Asuka asked.

"Well, what do you want me to do?" he asked her. " Should I call the nearest take out? Oh wait, forgot! There aren't any!"

"Listen up, you idiot!" Asuka snapped as she got to her feet and walked over to him.. "There is no need to get testy with me just because you're hungry!"

"I'm what?" Shinji asked. "You were the one just asking about food!"

"Well, duh!" Asuka yelled. "We better find some."

"Where do you suppose we look?" Shinji asked.

"Oh, I don't know how about some of these fucking buildings that are still here?" Asuka said as she pointed to the buildings.

"You want to go back into a building?" Shinji asked. "After what happened yesterday? You want to go back into a building?"

"We need to get supplies, idiot!" Asuka barked. "We can't just sit around and waste away! We need clothes, backpacks, first aid, water and soap! We need a lot of stuff."

Shinji groaned and said. "I don't want to go into another building."

"Stop being such a wuss!" Asuka barked.

"Wuss?" he asked her.

"Yeah, a wuss, wimp, coward!" Asuka growled. "You get the picture?"

Shinji groaned and crossed his arms as Asuka looked at him.

"Well, c'mon. Move your ass." She said.

"What?" he asked her in an annoyed tone.

"Move! Your! ASS!" Asuka growled.

"Asuka, c'mon, I mean…you want to do all of this now?"

"Oh, I'm sorry." Asuka said firmly. "Did you have plans? Yeah, I see where your schedule would be full doing nothing!".

"Very funny." He said.

"Well, then, c'mon, let's go. Move it." Asuka said as she walked forward.

"All right! I'm going!' Shinji said as he walked forward and grumbled.

Chapter 7

All day long, the two of them gathered supplies. Asuka ditched the plug suit for a pair of jeans and boots with a red shirt. Shinji opted for a blue fleece pullover, a pair of jeans and hiking boots as well. They also gathered other articles of clothing that they would need.

They picked up things like camping gear, sleeping bags, blankets, and two large backpacks, hunting knives, bandages, cans of soup and other non-perishable items. They tried to think of everything that they could possible require out in the open and had pretty much figured that they had everything.

Asuka had an argument with Shinji over one thing that they felt they needed.

"I am not carrying a gun!" he snapped.

"Oh, really? Do you really feel as if we are that secure? We need a gun!" Asuka yelled.

"Then, you get the gun!" Shinji told her.

"I am not carrying a stinking gun! You're the guy. You're supposed to carry a gun." Asuka told him.

"That's a bunch of crap!" Shinji yelled. "We live in an equal opportunity society! You can carry a gun!"

"Oh yeah? Well, my rule is you carry the gun! I don't want to carry a gun!" Asuka yelled. "You should carry the gun."

"I will never pick up another gun as long as I live!" Shinji told her.

"Well, how are you supposed to protect us?" Asuka asked.

"How am I supposed to protect us?" Shinji asked. "Protect us from what?"

"What if there is a crazy person out there somewhere who wants to rape me?"

Shinji shook his head and chuckled as he began to walk away. "A crazy person who wants to rape you?"

"Yeah, what if he tries to rape me? What will you do? Talk your way out of it? Oh, better yet, would you…run away?"

Shinji narrowed his eyes at her and then said. "I don't think there are any people left alive, Asuka. You and me are it."

"Okay, well what about animals with rabies?"

Shinji crossed his arms as he said. "Animals with rabies?"

"Yeah. What if a crazy dog picks up on our scent and tries to bite me? Are you going to let a crazy dog maul me to death?"


"Shinji!" Asuka protested. "We need to think of these things!"

"What are you getting at?" he asked her.

"You are such a fucking idiot!" Asuka snapped. "We need a weapon!"

"A weapon?" Shinji asked.

"Yeah, a weapon."

"Well, what do you call this?" he asked as he pulled the six-inch hunting knife from the holster on his belt. "This is one nasty knife!"

"Oh, that's just great." Asuka said. "A knife. What are you going to do? You can't go stabbing something to death! You'll get hurt! You need a gun! You can stand at a distance and BANG!" Asuka said as she held out her hand and raised her hand in the shape of a gun.

"I am not carrying a gun." He told her.

"What about a rifle?" Asuka said as she pointed to the rifle. "How about a shotgun?" She said as she pointed to the shotgun. "Shinji, you can use a gun!" She growled as she bought her hands to her sides. "You know how to fire a gun. You had firearms training at NERV."

"So did you." He told her.

"I don't want to carry a gun."

"Well, neither do I." He told her.

Then, he looked over and in the corner he saw it. He walked over to it and picked it up. He held it in his hands and tested the weight of it. He tightened his grip on it. Angrily, he smashed it against the wall with all of his strength. .

"You idiot! What are you doing? Put that bat down!"

Shinji smirked and swung it in the air again. "This is the weapon of choice."

"A baseball bat?" Asuka asked.

"Yeah, this works for me." Shinji said.

"So, you're going to defend us with…a baseball bat?" Asuka asked.

"Its not just a baseball bat." Shinji said. "It's titanium grade. That's pretty strong and its light too. Yeah, I can use this fine."

"Shinji, I will say this again, " Asuka growled. ", a gun would be a better idea."

"I am not carrying a GUN!" Shinji yelled out. "Its this or nothing."

"Fine." Asuka growled. "Let's go set up a campsite somewhere and make dinner."

"Okay." He said.

Chapter 8

They were standing in the middle of the ruins of the once busy town, which used to be Tokoyo-3. The buildings for the most part were completely in ruins. There were no signs of life anywhere to be seen.

Asuka stood in front of once was her favorite store to shop in and she looked into the broken plate glass window before her.

Who am I?

She could see her reflection staring back at her but as she looked at herself, she thought. I don't recognize that person staring back at me. I used to know. I don't think I know anymore. Things are so different. I am so different. Who am I really? Why are my eyes different now? Why do I feel…this way? I know nothing. Why am I here? Why did he want me back? Does he care for me that much? Where is my strength? I'm so confused. I don't know who I am anymore. I have no purpose. I want to die. Everyone is gone. I wish I were still dead.

As she kept staring at the person in the reflection, she saw someone come from behind her and she breathed in as she stared back at him.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

"Yeah." She responded. "I'm fine."

"Okay." He told her.

She turned to him and then with a deep breath said. "What do you think we should do?"

"You're asking…. me?"

"Duh!" Asuka snapped. "Whom else would I be talking to?"

Shinji and then said. "I don't know what to do."

Asuka sighed and then she said. "I think we should get away from here. We can't stay here."

"Where should we go?" Shinji asked.

"Out there." Asuka said as she raised her arm and pointed.. "Maybe we can find someone. Maybe we can contact somebody and get help. Maybe, we can…. I don't know. All I know is we can't stay here."

"I know." He told her. "It's like there's death here."

"So, do you think we should go forward, you know, to out there somewhere?" Asuka asked.

"I guess so." Shinji replied flatly.

"Okay, we'll do that then." Asuka said. "When do you want to start?" she asked.

"Well," he said as he looked up at the sky. ", we should go tomorrow when its morning. We'll settle down here for the night. We have enough supplies to get us through I think."

"So here starts survival." Asuka said.

"Yeah." He told her. "I hope we make it."

"We will." Asuka told him. "We have to. We have no choice."

Chapter 9

It had been four months later. In that time, both of them had become skilled campers but more so, they were determined to find more remnants of civilization and hopefully, others that may have been alive somewhere.

Everyday they walked and every night they settled down somewhere to make camp.

Though the sleeping bags were comfortable, Shinji and Asuka missed the comforts of having an actual place to call home. They missed the comforts of having a couch or a kitchen.

They had gotten used to using the outdoors but sometimes the weather made their journey a tough one.

When it rained, the two of them found shelter somewhere or patched up a tent that they had found in the destroyed sporting good store.

One night they were blessed. The weather wasn't too hot or too cold, it seemed just right.

They had just finished making up their campsite. Asuka had built a fire. Shinji took the sleeping bags and set them up side by side.

He had taken two cans of soup out of the pack and poured into the small pot for their dinner.

They ate their dinner quickly and then afterwards, Asuka saw him doing his usual thing. He was standing outside of the campsite, arms crossed, looking out into the distance.

As she watched him, she noticed two things. One, he looked taller and she could have sworn he might have even bulked up from all the physical labor. The other thing was something that had been irking her since the first time she had noticed it.

"You know something?" She asked as she sat down and looked at him.

"What?" he responded while he still looked out.

"Your hair looks like shit." She said.

Shinji rolled his eyes, pushed his hair back with his hand and groaned. "Well, the nearest barber is…. let's see…oh wait, there are no more barbers."

"Not really." She said with a smirk as she picked up a small set of scissors from her pack and clipped them together.

Shinji watched her with the scissors and swallowed as he said. "What are you suggesting?"

"Let me cut your hair."

"NO!" he said quickly.

"It looks like shit! It's getting way too long. You may not know this but I know a thing or two about cutting hair." Asuka said.

"You do?"

"Yeah." She said. "I cut mine when I feel it's getting to be crappy."

"How?" he asked.

"With these!" She said as she held up the scissors.

"No way." He told her. "Where did you get those anyway?"

"At the last stop. I got them because I at least care what I look like! Don't you care about your appearance? I see you shaving every morning but do you care what your hair looks like?" Asuka asked.

"Asuka," he said as he rolled his eyes. "There is nobody here. Who cares what I look like?"

"I do!" Asuka snapped. "Shinji, if I cut it it'll be a lot cooler for you too. It won't fall into your goddamned eyes when you're working. Get over here."

"No." he protested.

"If you don't, I'll cut your hair in your sleep." Asuka said with a smirk.

"No you won't!" he told her angrily.

"Oh yes I will. Try me." Asuka told him.

Shinji groaned and then said. "What if you fuck it up?"

"I won't." She said. "Just find your razor and bring it to me."

Shinji rolled his eyes and groaned. "Fine, Asuka."

"Okay, go get your razor and also a pot of water." Asuka said as she got up to make a small sitting area.

Shinji did as she instructed. He grabbed one of the empty pots and then went over to the stream near the campsite. He filled the pot up with water and then came over to her as he handed her the pot. He then went over to his backpack and pulled out his shaving razor and handed it to her.

She took the pot and then placed it on the fire. As she held the scissors she looked up at him and smirked as she said. "Pop a squat."

He shot an annoyed look at her as he groaned and sat down beside her. She looked at his hair and bit her lip as she scratched her head.

"Okay, this is gonna be tough." Asuka said.

"What?" he said. "Okay, that's it! I'm outta here!" He said as he began to get up.

"Knock it off." Asuka said as she grabbed the back of his pull over and held him down. "I just mean…ah, I know. Okay, this is gonna look good. You better take off your shirt though."

He turned to her and then asked. "Why?"

"Because then the hair will fall down your shirt and make you itch! Just take it off. It'll be easier."

"Really?" he asked in an annoyed tone.

"Oh for God Sakes, are you self conscious about that? If you are that self-conscious, leave the other shirt on underneath, okay?" Asuka growled.

"Fine." He grumbled as he reached for the back of his pullover and pulled it up over his head, leaving the green t-shirt underneath.

Asuka got up and then tested the water in the pot. It was warm but not too hot. She bought the pot over and then dipped the scissors into the pot and swished it around.

She also picked up a small comb and began to comb through his hair. He sat and groaned as she combed his hair.

Taking a sigh, she took one of the small clean cups by the fire and filled it with water. "Turn to the left." She said.

Shinji did as she instructed and then looked up at her with an annoyed look.

"Put your head back." She told him.

Shinji put his head back and then she came around to him as she poured the water over his head and let it fall back. Shinji closed his eyes as he felt the warmth of the water go through his hair.

Asuka then picked up a small bottle and poured some liquid into her hand where she worked it through his hair.

Shinji smirked, as it felt good. He closed his eyes and let her continue to wash his hair and then breathed out as she rinsed the shampoo out with the warm water.

"Okay." She said as she took the comb and combed his hair back.. "This is going to be easier now."

She combed a small amount of hair and then held it in place with her fingers as she picked up the knife and then gently began to cut the hair away.

He grimaced as he heard the scissors clipping away. He had visions of whole patches of hair missing from his head and then having to be bald because of Asuka's mistakes.

Shinji took a deep breath as she cut away.

She breathed in as she looked at the haircut she just gave him and then picked up his razor and dipped it in the water. Gently, she shaved the back of his neck and by his ears.

Then she smiled as she picked up one of the towels she had laid out and rubbed it over his head. After his hair was dry, she again combed it back and smiled as she said. "Not bad. It's a good look for you."

Shinji rubbed his hand through his hair to find it was indeed shorter and nervously said. "Get me the mirror."

"Don't you trust me?" Asuka asked.

"Just…. get me the mirror." He said nervously.

Asuka went over to her pack and pulled out her mirror and then came over to him and handed it to him.

Shinji looked at her and slowly bought the mirror up and then stared at himself. He turned his head to the right and then to the left and held it above his head and then grinned as it said. "Yeah, it looks okay. It's not what I would have done but it looks good. It's a lot shorter on the sides though and the back is short. It's sort of like…the cut Touji used to have. Not bad, Asuka."

"Well, I figured with all the labor that we're doing you're better off with the back being short and the sides too. It means that mop won't hang in your face any longer."

"Thanks, Asuka." He said as he stood up with a smile.

Then as he stood he shook out his shirt as he felt pieces of hair underneath. Without caring whether she was nearby, quickly, he reached for the back of his t-shirt and took it off.

Asuka raised her eyebrows as she saw him. She had never seen him without his shirt off and as he stood there shaking it out, she couldn't believe what she was seeing. Where in the hell did that body come from? She thought to herself. Damn, he looks…. really good. Are those muscles just from all the physical labor or was he like that before?

Asuka felt her face become flushed as he looked back at her and said. "Something wrong?"

"Uh…. no." She said nervously. "Put your shirt back on!"

Shinji looked at her and raised his eyebrow as he caught her face turning red. "Does this make you…. uncomfortable?" he asked as he shook out his shirt.

Asuka again tried not to look at him as she said. "No, it doesn't bother me. Why do you think that bothers me?"

"I don't know." He said as he smirked. "Hey, you know this looks really cool. You did a good job, Asuka."

Asuka breathed in as she said. "Of course, I did! I know what I'm doing!"

Shinji chuckled and then said. "Why does the dirty laundry stuff go?"

"Over there." She said as she pointed to the small bag near the backpacks.

Asuka breathed in as she looked over at the corner of her eye at him. She had always thought he was kind of cute but as she looked at him, without his shirt, on she couldn't stop watching him.

Asuka thought to herself. Wait, this is Shinji we're talking about. Who cares! He's still a fucking idiot. Wipe it out of your mind, Asuka. Cut it out. Don't go there.

Chapter 10

A few days later, Asuka woke up in the middle of the night as her nightmares drew her out of a deep sleep. They had pitched the tent from the sporting goods store and she had been inside of it.

Her eyes had been full of tears and quickly she wiped them away. Asuka sat up and looked around, she noticed that Shinji was nowhere to be found. She came out of the tent and looked around the campsite.

She swallowed and her breathing became heavy as she looked around. The campfire was still going but he was nowhere in site and it frightened her to suddenly realize she was alone.

She tried to look into the darkness for him and then as she stood she heard a noise, it was faint but it sounded like…


Asuka tried to follow the noise and as she went into the darkness of the woods, she heard it was getting louder.

Is he out there?

As Asuka walked deeper into the woods the sound got louder and then she saw him.

He was sitting in the darkness underneath a tree with his knees up to his chest, there was a flashlight by his side that was still on, his head was buried on his arms and his body was shaking.

She breathed in as he realized that he was sobbing. She could hear it and it sounded like he was full of pain.

Asuka had never seen him cry before except for the first day that they found out that they were alive.

It broke her heart to see him like that. As she looked at him, she felt something inside of her and she took a deep breath as she walked forward.

"Shinji?" Asuka asked.

Shinji raised his head. He saw her. He wiped his eyes as he cleared his throat, picking up the flashlight as he stood up. He turned around to look at her. Asuka took another deep breath as she saw his tear-stained face.

"Are you all right?"

"Y…. yeah." he said as his voice sounded raspy and weak.

"Are you sure?" She asked.

"Yeah, Asuka. Why are you up?"

"I…couldn't sleep." Asuka said. "I noticed you weren't there. I got worried."

"Okay. Why don't you go back to camp?" he asked her. "I'll…. be there in a second."

"Why were you crying?" Asuka asked as she looked at him.

He turned his face away and she could see that there was a shade of red in his cheeks even in the darkness and the small amount of light that was showing through.

She knew she had embarrassed him and then quickly said. "I'll…. just go back then. I didn't mean to intrude on you."

As she turned her back to walk away, he said. "I'm in so much pain, Asuka."

Asuka turned around to him again. "What kind of pain? Did you hurt yourself?" she asked.

"Not the physical kind." He said. "My heart…it feels like…its been torn out of me. I don't feel…like I'm alive. I don't feel anything. I feel like all of this is just…some kind of nightmare and soon we'll wake up…only, it's real. There is nothing! Everyone is gone. I just feel so alone."

"I'm here." Asuka said to him in a low voice.

"Asuka, you don't have to pretend to like me. I know that you never did."

"That's a lie!" Asuka said to him as her voice cracked. "I know I always call you an idiot and things like that but…its just because I'm used to calling you that!"

Shinji managed a small smile. She looked at him again and then came towards him. He looked at her as a tear rolled down his face. He turned away from her so she wouldn't see it but she all ready had.

Asuka took a breath and then she said. "You're not the only one here in pain. I hurt too, Shinji. I miss them too!"

Asuka could feel the tears coming to her and quickly, she turned her head and bit her lip, she shut her eyes and then breathed in.

Looking back at him, she said firmly. "Look, I know your hurting. You can't let this pain destroy you though. You have to fight back, Shinji! It's like I told you, you need to find your strength!"

"That's the thing, Asuka." Shinji said weakly. "I don't have any."

Asuka looked deep into his face. She could feel his sadness and loneliness. She could see his pain. Then for some reason, she wasn't quite sure of; she walked up to him and then gently put her arms around him.

It caught him off guard as he tensed up. This was not like her at all.

It was then a light rain started to fall.

She put her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes. She felt just for a minute, she was being weak but she allowed herself this one moment of weakness.

Shinji breathed in.

She could feel his body trembling. She knew this is what he needed. He needed to be comforted, he needed to know somebody cared about him.

"From now on," Asuka said to him gently. "its you and me in this world. This will be our major rule: where you go, I go. I'm your friend, Shinji. I know I've never said that to you before but I am your friend. Let me help you find your strength because you need it now more then ever."

Shinji breathed in and then his tears started to fall. The comfort and gentleness she was providing for him at this moment was very un-Asuka-like but it was helping him. He closed his eyes and put his head against her head. He started to sob. His arms went around her and he held onto her.

For the first time in his life, Shinji Ikari didn't feel alone. He knew that someone cared about him. Someone else was comforting him when he needed it and as he breathed in, he could feel his pain and every emotion he had pushed down come up to the surface.

Asuka felt uncomfortable as he began to cry but she knew that his pain was great and he needed to get this out so he could continue.

The first time she saw him cry at the beach it had actually repulsed her how weak minded he had been and she had even said. "How disgusting." More so, she had told him that she "felt sick."

Weakness was something Asuka despised. She hated weak people, she used to make fun of them and call them "losers." Now though, she couldn't have him be weak he had to get stronger. He had to beat this.

She too knew a thing or two about being weak lately. She felt every time she had a nightmare. Those damned nightmares, she thought, they torture me. I keep seeing it over and over again. I am ripped apart, every part of me raped and mutilated, then nothing, just white and that damned scream…God, I hate it.

His body began to tremble more as he said. "I'm sorry, Asuka. I don't mean to…"

"Its all right." Asuka whispered as she tried to control her own tears from falling. "I'm here, Shinji."

"You don't have to…." He said in a raspy whisper as he sobbed.

"Yes, I do." Asuka told him. "Its all right."

"Oh God, Asuka…." He cried out.

His sobbing became louder as he thought about when Misato died and learning that Kaji was gone too. He could see Asuka's Unit 2 lying mauled and knowing that she was dead. He remembered when he was "forced" to kill Kaoru and "forced" to hurt Touji.

Then the experience he had right before he came back to Earth, that alone confused him most of all. They had taken all of his emotions and turned them against him. They had used everything from his anger, love, hatred, fear, loneliness, guilt, sexual urges, and frustration to turn it against him and make him face it dead on. All of those images that he saw didn't make any sense. He had heard voices screaming at him calling him names "liar" "pervert" "wimp" "coward"

He missed his two friends Kensuke and Touji.

Misato. He missed her most of all. She had always been there for him. She had helped him, nurtured him, and been a surrogate parent. She was more then that though and she was gone too. She had risked her life for him and then the last time he saw her, that was deep inside of him hurting him like no pain he had ever known before. He remembered what she did right before she pushed him into the elevator, and as he looked back at her, wishing that moment could be frozen in time, he saw in her eyes what he wished he had: strength.

They had used the image of Asuka to get to him and penetrate into his worst fear. Rejection. That had made him turn into a rage and in the vision, try to kill her until he screamed out her name and found himself in yet another scenario.

He cried over never really knowing his father and now knowing that he was dead, never having been able to connect to the man.

He felt cold and alone.

But he wasn't alone anymore…he had her.

He would have never have expected her to show him this type of affection but then again, they only had each other now. It seemed like things would be out of the ordinary considering the circumstances.

Asuka could not believe what she was doing.

In the past, she wouldn't have done this. She would have called him a name and walked away from him. She would have let him cry alone and turned her back because then to comfort him meant to show weakness. I hate being weak. I hate this but I feel the same way. I feel alone. I don't feel like me. Where is this compassion coming from? Why am I doing this? All I know is he needs me. I need him. I don't feel totally like my old self. I don't think I ever will again. Father, what is it you used to say? I am the only one who matters to me? Not anymore. Now, it's only him and me. We're the only ones. He needs to find his strength; I can help him do that. I can't be the way I used to be.

He felt her move her palm along his back as he continued to cry loudly and now uncontrollably as she held him.

He cried so much that he began to sink to his knees.

Asuka did not stop holding him. She too went down on her knees and let his head rest on her shoulder as he cried his heart out to get rid of all of the pain, the sadness, loneliness and grief that ran through him. Asuka held him tighter and breathed in as she could feel his pain and hurt run through her.

"Asuka, you don't know…." He told her through sobs. "…. You don't know what happened. It was horrible!"

"Its okay, Shinji." Asuka said to him. "It'll be okay."

Even as the rain fell upon them, the two of them did not move. She held onto him and he cried onto her, holding onto her.

Asuka's own heart ached. She thought about all the brave fronts she had put up and the walls that were around her. She thought of her father. She was very much like him. He had put up brave fronts his whole life. He had been a lucrative businessman and a brilliant scientist. Even after her mother died, he waited a short time after her death to remarry mostly because, he wanted a wife and Asuka's stepmother served that purpose well.

Then, she thought of Shinji. He had always been kind to her and she had always been cruel to him. She realized that she couldn't be that way anymore. He was going to be her companion from now on and their survival depended on each other. All he ever wanted in all of the time that they knew each other was to reach out to her and connect to her. She knew it. She rejected it though, her strength was a more prized asset that the growing feelings inside of her and therefore, she pushed those away.

As the rain fell and began to soak the both of them, Asuka let her tears fall, hoping that the rain could disguise them.

Shinji raised his head, shutting his eyes and let the rain fall on his face. Just take it away. He thought to himself. Purge all of it out of me. Cleanse it away. Make me strong. Take away all of this hurt, the anger, frustration, grief and pain. Take it away now. Give me my strength. Give me my courage. Help me through this.

Asuka would not let go. She would stay with him until she was sure it was all out. He needed this right now.

As Shinji breathed in and bought his head back, allowing the rain to fall upon him, he held her tighter. He gently held the back of her head his hand ran down her soaked hair and then suddenly, he felt something inside of him. It was coming to him. It was small but it was there and he felt better when he could feel it and it was getting larger.

He took a deep breath as he held Asuka and he gave a small smile. "Asuka," he said gently as he breathed in. ", I can feel it. I've found my strength."

Asuka breathed in and nodded her head as she said. "Now that you have, you need to use it, Shinji. We both do. I have to rely on my strength just like you need to rely on yours. We need to rely on each other. We have to work together. We need to get through this."

Shinji took a deep breath and as she raised her head to look into his eyes, she could see the confidence inside of him start to grow.

"I'll do it." He said to her firmly as he sniffled.

Asuka smiled at him and gently, she touched his cheek as she said. "I know you will. You are strong. You just need to realize yourself."

Shinji stared into her eyes and smiled gently at her. As he looked at her, he felt the same way he did when he found her in his bed that time.

As he looked into her eyes, those eyes called to him and in them he could find comfort and safety. She made him feel like no other. As he breathed in, he stroked her hair and then gently pressed his lips to her forehead.

Asuka closed her eyes as she felt his lips brush against her. She wanted to melt against him and hold him as close to her as she could.

As his lips parted from her forehead, she looked up slowly into his eyes and there she could see it:

His strength.

It was there.

It was growing and getting larger and she could see a change in him. More so, as she looked at him she could feel her own strength and she breathed in as she looked into his eyes.

He gently brushed the hair from her face and smiled at her as he simply looked into her face.

She put her hand on his shoulder and then stood up. She smiled down at him as she extended her hand out to him. "Come on. We need to get out of this rain."

Shinji nodded at her. He reached for her hand and she helped him up. As he looked at her, he thought to himself. You've given me my strength, Asuka. Asuka, I don't want to let you go. I want to hold you right now and I never want to let you go. I want to kiss you, Asuka. Really kiss you. Kiss you for real and not like the time you pinched my nose. Asuka, you're doing something to me I can't explain and I don't want to let this go.

"Come on, Shinji." Asuka said again as she let go of his hand and began to walk back.

Shinji simply stood and looked at her, not moving, frozen, unable to speak.

Asuka turned around and asked. "Are you coming?"

As he looked at her, Asuka could see something in his eyes. There was no more sadness or pain. There was something else and it scared her.

"Shinji!" She barked. "Its fucking raining and I'm getting soaked! C'mon, idiot! Let's get back to camp."

Then the compassion that she had shown a few minutes ago was replaced with her typical style. .

Shinji took a deep breath as he looked at her. I want to kiss you, Asuka.

Asuka felt uneasy as she looked at him. Uh oh. I shouldn't have been that compassionate.

She knew what he wanted but right now, she wouldn't allow it to happen. This could be a problem. Asuka thought to herself as she looked at him. Call his bluff maybe he'll snap out of it.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" She asked in a slightly annoyed tone.

Shinji couldn't answer her as he stood in the rain looking back at her. He could only breathe deeply, captivated by her, wanting to be with her, wanting to hold her, wanting to kiss her.

Right now the feelings inside of him swirled around like no other before, it excited him and as he looked at her, he couldn't stop staring.

"Look, idiot, snap out of it!" Asuka said. "It's fucking raining for Christ sake!"

He took another deep breath as he said. "Asuka?"

Asuka became worried as she looked back at him. Then she said, "Yes?"

"Thank you." He told her as he smiled.

Asuka managed a small smile and then said. "Your welcome, Idiot. Now c'mon. It's fucking raining."

Shinji smiled at her and walked forward as the two of them began to walk back to camp. As they walked the rain became harder and it was soaking them both.

They ran back to camp. At the camp, they quickly got inside of the tent.

"Weather is going to be a bitch." Asuka said as she sat in the tent with a towel drying her hair.

"Yeah." Shinji said as he looked outside and watched the rain fall.

"What time do you think it is?" she asked.

Shinji took a look at his watch and then sighed as he said. "Four AM. It's going to be morning soon."

"Yeah." Asuka said as she pulled out a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants.

Shinji turned and looked at her.

Then she said in annoyed tone. "Turn around, Idiot. I'm going to change."

"Here?" he asked.

"Do you expect me to change in the rain?" Asuka growled.

"No." he said.

"Then turn around and if I see you looking, I'll slap the shit out of you." Asuka said.

Shinji nodded and turned to face the entrance of the tent. He could hear clothes rustling and then he heard her say. "Okay, you can look now."

Shinji turned and saw her getting ready to settle down onto the sleeping bag. As she settled into the sleeping bag, she looked at him and said. "Are you going to sleep in those wet clothes?"

"I think I'll stay up." He told her.

"You're not tired?" she asked.

"No." he said. "Not really."

"You've been up all night and you're not tired?" she asked.

"No. I slept for a bit before and that's when I woke up…. and…."

Then Asuka asked. "Do you have nightmares?"

Shinji didn't want to admit that he did. It was true that sometimes flashbacks from his experiences would torture him in his sleep and wake him up but he also didn't want to lie either.

"Sometimes. Do you?" he asked her.

Asuka breathed in as she said. "Yeah."

"Are they bad?" he asked.

Asuka nodded her head as she leaned on her elbow. "Yeah, they are."

"Is that why you cry?"

Asuka's eyes narrowed that time.

She didn't want that part of it to be revealed and angrily she said. "I told you, I don't want…. you to say that again. Don't ask me why I cry."

Shinji breathed in and nodded as he said. "I'm sorry…. I didn't mean to."

Asuka wasn't in the mood for a fight tonight especially after she told him that he could rely on her and so she said. "It's all right. Just…. I don't like talking about it." She looked back at him again and said. "You're shirt is soaked. You better take it off before you get sick."

Shinji's face blushed and then said. "You're here though."

"So what. It's only your shirt." Asuka said.

Shinji nodded his head and began to unbutton his shirt. He took it off and then put if off to the side as he moved over to sleeping bag and then laid down on his back with his arm over his head.

Asuka watched him as he lay next to her and he turned his head to look at her. She stared back at him and smiled.

He smiled back at her. He took a breath as he looked at her and then that's when Asuka reached out for his hand and held it.

He could only smile gently at her and then he saw her close her eyes.

Shinji breathed in, and turned his head, he continued to look up at the tent and then as he held her hand, he turned over on his side and looked at her. He moved closer to her, as he watched her sleep.

So many emotions swirled within him right now but all he could do was just watch her sleep.

Shortly after he too closed his eyes and fell asleep, lying beside Asuka, still holding onto her hand.

Chapter 11

It was almost a year later. So much had happened in that time and in that time; Shinji and Asuka continued to wander looking for some signs of life.

They were walking on a road that curved along side a cliff. They had been walking for most of the day.

It had been a hot day. With the weather changes, they had been able to adjust pretty well. Now it was a year later, they both were almost sixteen and in that time learned a great deal about the other and about survival.

Shinji stopped for a minute to grab his canteen off his belt and take a sip of water. He had been wearing a t-shirt and jeans. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with his arm and then took his backpack off and settled in beside him. "How about a short break?" he asked.

"Sure." Asuka said. Asuka opted for a lighter wear. She had been wearing a light sea green sundress. It was sleeveless and fell right before her knee.

He had told her she'd be better off wearing jeans and the hiking boots but Asuka had said. "Its too out today, Shinji. I want to be cool. Besides, we're only walking."

Shinji had been stealing glances as they walked; he thought she looked beautiful in the sunlight. Actually, he had been glad she wore that it made the day a little more bearable with the heat. It gave him something nice to look at.

Asuka liked it because the breezes swept through her and kept her cool. She figured not much could happen while they were walking and why not? Even though they were stuck in hell, there was no reason why she couldn't at least look good while she was here.

Shinji saw changes in Asuka. Her body always looked good but lately, it had looked even better as she was getting older.

Over the past year since Third Impact, Asuka had noticed he had gotten a little bit taller and Asuka had noticed definitely stronger and more muscular.

The heat from the sun beat down on both of them. The summer was definitely not a fun one. Everyday the weather had been hot, humid and he hated it. He wished it would cool down just for a while and as he looked around, he saw her as she walked over near the edge of the cliff.

"Careful." He told her as he sipped his water.

"I'm fine." She snapped as she stood at the edge and looked out. It was hot as hell today and as she looked out over the distance, she could see just far they had been traveling. The giant crater left over from Third Impact was in the distance. As she stood, she looked over to her left. She smiled as her eyes widened and she bent down near it. "Hey!"

Shinji wiped his mouth with his arm as he hooked the canteen back on his belt and looked over at her. "Get away from the edge!" he called out.

"I'm fine." She said as she turned her head to him. "Look at this though."

"What is it?" he asked in an annoyed tone.

"It's a…flower. A lily. Its so cool."

Shinji rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. "Okay, so it's a flower."

"Do you realize what this means?" she asked.


"You don't get it, do you?" Asuka asked.

"No." he told her. "What's so important about that flower?"

"It means that life is brimming, Shinji. If this flower is here and it's living then, somewhere other creatures might be living too besides us. We may not be alone. There may be people somewhere. I mean we've seen birds and smaller animals so if they are alive, people might be alive too!"

Shinji nodded his head as he looked at her. "It's a possibility. Now get away from the edge. You're making me nervous."

"Oh, quit worrying." Asuka said. "Hey you know? I know so far we haven't been able to find an intact phone system or a way to communicate but we should try something when we find the next rest stop."

"Ok, Asuka. Now get away from there. You're too damned close to the edge!" Shinji called out.

"Oh stop. I'm fine. This ground is secure." Then Asuka looked down at the flower and pulled on it and as soon as she did, the ground beneath her gave way, and she shouted out. "SHINJI!"

Shinji turned and saw her as she fell.


Shinji's eyes widened, his heart raced, and his breathing quickened as he took off like a shot after her.

"Asuka!" he called out as he ran to the edge.

He looked down and saw her.

She was holding onto the root of a large plant and she looked up at him as she dangled from it, below her was a dangerous drop.

"HELP ME, YOU IDIOT!" She screamed.

Asuka swung her body towards the cliff and then fixed her feet on the side of the cliff as she held on.

Shinji got down on his stomach and reached his arm down, extending as far as he could to grab her. "Grab my hand!" he said to her.

Asuka was holding on with both hands to the root. She took one of her hands and reached up trying to grab hold of his, as she did, the root started coming out and started to crack. "FFFFFFFFFFFFFfUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKK!" Asuka screamed.

Shinji also noticed that the ground was starting to feel unstable as he lay across it, sweat came off of his forehead, and he continued to reach.

Asuka saw cracks in the dirt and looked up at him with pleading eyes.

"Shinji! Get away! The ground…. its getting loose!" Asuka called out.

"NO!" he said to her as he tried to reach for her. "NO! NOT WITHOUT YOU! I WON'T!"

"Shinji…. get away! We'll both die if you try to save me! Don't risk your life for me!" Asuka said as she looked up at him.

"NO! NOT WITHOUT YOU!" he yelled out and then he inched himself forward more and grabbed onto her wrist, holding her wrist with all of his might. "Give me…. your other…. hand." he breathed out as he tried to hold her, her backpack and his own weight. "Give it to me NOW!" he strained as he bought his other arm down and reached for her.

"Shinji…let go." Asuka said as she looked at him.

"Never." He told her.

"Let go, Shinji." Asuka said softly as she looked at him.


"Shinji…." Asuka whispered.

Shinji's face crossed into a scowl. "Where…. you go, I go!" The ground started to feel uneasy as he lay across it and then he said to her. "Give me…your other hand…now!"

Asuka stared back into his face. She let go of the root and then reached up with her other hand as he grabbed a hold of both of her wrists.

He breathed heavy as he looked at her. He strained to hold her feeling the weight may have been too much but he was determined not to let go.

As he looked at her, he breathed in and then he let out a loud roar as he pulled her up all of his strength.

Asuka's eyes went wide as he pulled her up with a strength that she never knew that he had.

Asuka came up over the cliff and then Shinji grabbed her around her waist and quickly backed away from the edge of the cliff as the ground beneath them shook and began to fall.

Shinji kept backing away with sweat pouring down his face and his eyes wide, Asuka shrieked and then he leaped over to harder ground, holding her close to him, just as the ground that they had just been on, gave way and fell.

He sat up, holding her against him and breathed heavy.

Asuka breathed out as she removed her backpack and tossed it off to the side. Shinji's arm was still around her.

Shinji looked down and watched as the earth plummeted to the ground below and breathed heavily, holding onto her.

As he looked down at the dangerous drop, he shut his eyes and breathed out a sigh of relief. Never he had been as afraid as he had been at that moment, not even when he piloted EVA was he that afraid. As he held Asuka in his arms, he could feel her shaking.

Asuka pulled back from him and stared into his face, she had been so terrified that she would fall and part of her had wished he hadn't risked his life for her. She couldn't believe how strong he had just been. The other part was grateful to him for saving her.

"Shinji…. oh my God…." She whispered as she looked at him.

"Asuka…." He breathed out as he opened his eyes and looked back at her.

Asuka was breathing heavily too and she was trembling.

"Thank God you're okay!" He called out in a cracked voice as he crushed her against him and held her tight, breathing in and out heavily. "I almost lost you." He told her tearfully as he held her. "Don't ever do that to me again." He whispered to her. He could feel the tears form in his eyes and he held her as close and as tight as he could to him as he breathed heavily, and shut his eyes.

"Shinji…." Asuka whispered as she shut her eyes and wrapped her arms around him. She had never seen him show that kind of backbone before or that type of courage. It was something refreshing and it was something she never thought that this shy, lonely boy would ever show her.

"Shh…." He said to her as he kissed the top of her head and felt a tear come out of his eye.

Asuka raised her head and looked into his face. "Shinji, what………"

Her words were caught off as his lips came to hers and kissed her gently. Asuka's eyes went wide as he kissed her. It was something she didn't expect.

She looked at him amazed as she parted lips from him. She stared into his face. She could see a tear roll out of his eye.

He held her against him as his eyes shut and he breathed out.

Asuka was speechless. His arms around her made her feel secure as he held her. Then, she breathed in as drew him to her closer and parted her lips.

Shinji kissed her again. Both of their eyes closed as their arms went around each other.

His kiss to her was sweet and gentle.

This kiss was nothing like the time she had pinched his nose. That kiss had been stale and the kiss she was receiving now was something different. It was gentle, sincere and real.

As he kissed her, he held onto her hand and when he parted from her lips, she opened her eyes slowly and looked back him.

"Shinji?" She breathed out as she looked at him.

He blinked at her and his face turned a shade of red. I can't believe I just did that! He thought to himself. He forced a small grin on his face, looking slightly embarrassed. "I…. um…. I…"

She looked at him and blinked. As she looked into his face, her eyes darted to his lips and her lips parted.

She pulled him to her, as her hand went to the back of his neck. Just shut up and kiss me again, damnit. Asuka thought as his lips came back to hers.

Shinji's thoughts ran amuck through his brain as he kissed her and held her.

His arms held her up against his body as they sat by the cliff, kissing each other with the wind lightly blowing over them.

As they kissed, he turned and cradled her body in his arms as he held onto that kiss as long as he could.

She too did not want to let go of him.

He never thought that he would ever do this to her, in fact, in the entire time that they had been with one another…it was something he had wanted to do…. but to do actually do it?

He never could find the nerve.

It wasn't until now, at this moment, when he thought of losing her forever, that something inside of him had snapped.

He only thought of one thing and that was to save her and then as he held her, something else inside of him took over and made him kiss her.

As they parted and looked back at one another, they both didn't know what to say. They were still in each other's arms and simply looked deep into each other's eyes.

What just happened? Asuka thought as she looked at him.

What did we just do? Shinji's mind was flooded with the same question. He couldn't believe they had kissed one another like that. It had happened just like a reflex, like a reaction, he hadn't even thought about doing it. He just did it!

She equally couldn't believe it herself. She never thought she would have ever reacted to him the way she just had.

His arms were around her, cradling her and she, looking up at him, with her hand on the back of his neck and her other arm around him.. They seemed like they were frozen and they were simply looking back at one another.

Shinji blinked his eyes and cleared his throat as he said. "We…we…we should go now."

"Okay." Asuka whispered.

"Yeah." He said as he looked back at her and moved his face closer to hers. "We…should…. go…"

"Yeah…" Asuka said as she closed her eyes and parted her lips.

Then just as he was within a breath of her lips, he stopped, blinked and cleared his throat as he raised his head. "Umm…. ready?"

She opened her eyes and took in a breath. "Yeah."

She sat back up and bought her hands back around as she got to her feet and dusted herself off.

Shinji took a deep breath and also stood. He looked at her but when she turned to look at him, he quickly turned his face away and turned red. "Okay, let's get going." He said.

"Okay." Asuka said as she watched him walk forward. She took a deep breath and then picked up her backpack and followed behind him.

She smiled as she looked at him and then sighed as she though to herself. Wow, that was…. cool.

Chapter 12

Throughout the day, they didn't say anything to each other. They just walked and had continued to walk through a dense tropical area. Shinji stole glances at her but didn't know what to say.

Asuka too was speechless, thoughts ran through her brain, but she wasn't sure of what to say to him either.

I wonder if that could have been considered our first real kiss. Asuka thought to herself as she looked at him. I admit that the time I pinched his nose was very unfair. He couldn't even breathe! No wonder that kiss sucked and this one had been so great. There's something deep inside of him that is lying beneath all the shyness. Why does he hide it from me? Why is he afraid?

Shinji was ahead of Asuka as they walked. He looked at her out of the corner of his eye at her and tried to think of something to say but he couldn't. Words weren't coming to him and even if he could, what could he say. I still can't believe I kissed her like that! Me, of all people, to just grab her and kiss her like that. Wow! I never knew I had that in me. It's so weird. We are all by ourselves in this world with basically nothing except for what's in these backpacks and the clothes on our backs. We have nothing and there's no place to go to call home. We walk all day long looking for barren towns, villages so that we can restock on supplies. We only have each other for company and we can only count on each other for survival. Would dying be easier? Sometimes I think it would be but it is also something we fear. We want to live and survive and see if we can make it. I am so confused about things. I care for her. I know I do otherwise, why would I have kissed her like that? Yet, I remember when she was lying comatose in the hospital my greatest fear was losing her, just as it was a few hours ago, and that's why I did it. I can't lose her. I care for her. I couldn't imagine ever losing her.

As Asuka walked, she looked up at the sky and saw that the sky was a crimson red.. "The sun is starting to set. We should make up camp."

Shinji stopped and looked around, then nodded his head. "How about here?"

"I guess so." Asuka said as she stopped and took off her backpack. "Do you think we'll find a village soon?"

"I hope so." Shinji said as he removed his backpack and set it down, taking out their camping supplies and then gathering sticks and rocks to make a fire.

Asuka settled down onto the ground and then pulled canned stew and went over to Shinji's backpack taking out the can opener. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure." He said as he tried to get a fire going.

"Why did you kiss me this afternoon?"

Shinji looked up at her from the fire and then went back to it,. "I don't know." He said, as he turned red in the face.

"You mean, you just did it and you don't know why?" Asuka asked.

Shinji took a deep breath and then looked back at her. "I…. was afraid I almost lost you. I care about you. I didn't want you to die."

"So that's why you did it?" Asuka asked.

"Did you…. not want me to?" Shinji asked her shyly as he watched the fire start to burn.

Asuka giggled as she said. "I don't think I had enough time to think that."

"Well…why are you asking me why I did it?"

"Because you've never been that way before." Asuka said to him as she opened up the can of stew and poured it into a pot. "Is the fire ready?"

"Yeah." He said as he watched her come over beside him and settled the pot onto the fire. He looked at her as she sat beside him, he couldn't stop looking at her. Inside of him, he could feel that same urge to take her into his arms start to call to him. As she turned to look at him, he smiled at her and she looked back towards the fire.

"Shinji?" Asuka asked as she stirred the stew. "I don't know what's happening."

"What do you mean?" he asked her.

"Shinji, we've been traveling around for a long time and we have never done anything like that before." Asuka said.

"It's really not a big deal." Shinji told her as he looked at her.

"It is kind of." Asuka said.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"I mean…. it's caused me to think that…maybe…. between you and me…there's something…."

"Something?" he asked her.

"Yeah, something."

"Like what?" he asked her.

"Like maybe…. you know what I mean, Shinji."

"No I don't." he told her as he breathed in.

Then as Asuka looked up at him, she saw a look in his eye that she hadn't seen before and, she could feel butterflies going off in her stomach and it made her feel uneasy. "I…. thought…that…there was something…"

"Like what?" he asked her as he looked at her.

"Like…." Asuka couldn't finish. "Oh, look dinner's ready." Asuka grabbed the pot and poured it into two bowls, she handed him one and then took the other one and sat away from him.

He looked at her as she backed away and he wondered what was going through her head. He said nothing as they ate and neither did she. Both of them stole glances at one another as they ate and then after they were done, Asuka stood up and looked around.

"Do you think there's water nearby?" She asked.

"Maybe." He said.

Asuka grabbed the pots and listened carefully then she nodded her head. "There is, it's this way."

She got up and followed the sound she heard, he followed her, and then he saw a small pond. Asuka went down to it and washed the pots out in it, then she walked back to camp and he followed her.

He stood as he watched her and as she felt his eyes on her, she turned around and stormed up to him. Her face had an angry scowl and her eyes narrowed. "Stop doing that!"

"Doing what?"

"You know what I know I'm talking about!" She growled.

"I do not." He said as he looked at her with his face blushing.

"Oh yes you do! You're watching me! You're staring at my ass!"

"I am not!" Shinji protested.

"Yes you are!" Asuka growled. "Knock it off right now!"

Shinji sighed as he looked up at her. "Okay, I'm going to get some sleep." He lay down near the fire and then a few minutes later, he felt Asuka, she was next to him.

He turned his head and looked at her, she was turned on her side with her back facing him. He turned over onto his back, looking up the sky and then raised his arm to look at his watch. "You know," he said to her. ", Its early. We could watch the sunset and maybe…talk or something?"

Asuka turned around to him and looked over at him, "I feel tired. What time is it?"

"My watch says eight thirty."

"Like I said, I'm tired. We've been up since five." Asuka said as she turned back onto side with her back facing him. "I'm tired."

"Okay." He said as he looked up at the crimson sky and watched as light seemed to dance on the clouds, then he turned his head towards her.

"Do you want to know the real reason why I kissed you?" Shinji asked her.

"Yeah." Asuka said in a sleepy tone as she yawned.. "Tell me."

Taking a deep breath, he said gently. "I can't face this world without you. I need you. You make me feel whole, Asuka."

Asuka breathed in, as her eyes opened and then breathed out slowly. "I know." She whispered. "I need you too. I couldn't be here without you either."

"Asuka, maybe there is something between us." He said. "I'm not afraid of it though."

"There could be." Asuka said.

Shinji then took a deep breath as he turned on his side and slowly moved closer to her. He placed his hand against her back as he moved his hand up and down her back gently rubbing her shoulders and breathing in out and nervously as he did it.

Asuka's eyes shut as he felt the gentle caress he gave her. It felt so good and she liked it.

He again moved closer to her so he was up against her back and breathed in as his arms came around her and drew her up against his body.

Asuka breathed in with wide eyes as she felt him against her. "Shinji?"

"Is this okay?" he whispered to her.

Asuka thought about for a moment and then she answered. "Yes."

He smiled and then he laid his head against her, breathing in her scent as he buried his face into her hair.

Her normal reaction would be to turn and slap the crap out of him but it had comforted her. She breathed in feeling his warmth and the comfort he provided.

"Good night, Asuka." He whispered to her.

"Good night, Shinji."

Then they both fell asleep.